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Saying goodbye to a species: Lonesome George

The death of the last tortoise of his type

by Adrienne Wyper

This week saw some sad news about the death of the sole survivor of a species.

I'm not naive; I know that species of animals and plants disappear virtually every day. But Lonesome George the giant tortoise was different: because he was the rarest known animal in the world, and because I met him when I was in the Galapagos two years ago.

George was 150 when he died. He had been living at the the Charles Darwin Research Station on the island of Santa Cruz, which is where I saw him. He seemed like a bit of a loner, ambling off in the distance, seeming content just to potter around his enclosure. The research station had been trying to get him to mate with females from similar species but he just wasn't interested. The closest the species came to continuation was when eggs were laid in 2008 and 2009 after mating with a similar species, but none hatched.

His species was Geochelone nigra abingdoni, or the Pinta island tortoise, discovered in 1877.

George was found dead by the man who'd looked after him for 40 years. The cause of death is being investigated, but is believed to be heart failure consistent with the natural end of a giant tortoise's life.

See more of the amazing wildlife in the Galapagos

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Alice  Jones

Alice Jones

Alice Jones is intern on All About You; she has an obsession for all things fashion and beauty related.

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Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Nola Ojomu

Freelance contributor to All About You. Mission - to have the perfect eyebrows

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Harriet Edgar

All About You intern; likes fashion, jogging, blogging and EastEnders

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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Rachael Ashley

SHE's deputy editor and single mum of two embodies the SHE motto 'Busy and loving it!'

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Kate Gilbert

Lifestyle Co-ordinator Good Housekeeping; believes in style,substance and big girl shoes.

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Marie Campbell

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Natalie Glock

Editorial assistant on All About You; a Parisian in training and amateur baker.

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Ruth Chandler

Assistant features editor on Country Living, Ruth lives on a smallholding in rural Essex.

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Julia Goodwin

Editor of House Beautiful since 2006, Julia has been a journalist for over 30 years.

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Josa Young

Josa Young is a writer, cook and internet content consultant.

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